Students sit in their class on laptops at desks that are socially distanced. Students are wearing masks.

Writing for the Job Search: W&J professional development classes prepare students for next steps

Created: January 21, 2021  |  Last Updated: January 21, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , , , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (Jan. 21, 2020)—Unique experiences fill out impressive resumes for many W&J graduates, but how do they put that resume together?

Professor of English Kay McEvoy, Ph.D., used JayTerm 2021 to teach the course: Writing for the Job Search. In Dr. McEvoy’s two week intensive, students learn how to analyze a job ad, write for specific job opportunities, create a resume or C.V., and study ethical topics related to job searches. The course is an offshoot of a semester-long ENG 201: Introduction to Professional Writing class that McEvoy teaches.

“I chose to teach this course because only 30 students are able to take ENG 201 each academic year, and I wanted to allow more students to acquire the skills and documents they will need to find a job. There is a lot of bad advice on the internet about job search documents, like resumes. I want to ensure my students know the best practices for this type of writing, as well as give them the time to start assembling their own works,” Dr. McEvoy said.

In addition to helping students create these important documents to give them an edge on the job search, the course also takes time to examine complicated issues like the ethics of the job search and first amendment restrictions in the private sector.

Economics major Gabrielle Pasternak ’22 took Dr. McEvoy’s Professional Writing course in the fall and considers herself fortunate for the experience.

“Dr. McEvoy was the definition of an amazing, caring, thoughtful professor. Without her and this class, I wouldn’t be half the writer I am today,” Gabrielle said. “We were required to complete a few projects: a resume and a cover letter. This was around the time I was applying to internships. I was shocked to see the difference in interviews versus rejection letters [I received] once I started using my new resume. I also overlooked the importance of a cover letter prior to taking Professional Writing. It is so important to do your research on every company you apply to and tailor your cover letter to that company.”

The course is just one of many designed to give students the base they need to reach beyond W&J, created very intentionally by the faculty Curriculum and Programming Committee.

“Including offerings like these are important for giving our students tangible skills and experiences that they can use as stepping-stones to the next great thing, whether it’s an internship or a job or a scholarship,” Committee Chair and Professor of Chemistry Jennifer Logan Bayline said.

For students interested in other opportunities, JayTerm 2021 courses covered a variety of topics. Read the first story in our series on Preparing for a Research Internship in the Sciences and the next story in the series on Applying for Prestigious Awards.

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.